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Help Me Build a Comprehensive Star Trek Experience


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Report this May. 03 2013, 11:22 am

I have done a lot of searching online trying to put together lists of episodes that will create a comprehensive Star Trek experience.  So far my searching has gotten me a lot of great suggestions but ultimately have not really achieved what I am looking for.  So now I turn to you to help me make this list.

I have been a major fan of Star Trek since a very young age and I have seen every episode of both TOS and TNG as well as all of the films.  However, my experience with DS9 and Voyager are somewhat limited and I have seen only a grand total of two episodes of Enterprise and no episodes of the cartoon.  With all of the seires on Netflix now I wanted to get into all the great episodes I havn't seen and revisit some of the others.  However, rather than sit through 725 episodes and 10 films, roughly 556.5 hours of screen time, I wanted to boil it all down to something more manageable.

So what I would like for fans of each series is to help me come up with roughly 30-70 episodes from each series, less TAS obviously, that show the evoultion of the series, plotlines, and characters.  I want to see all about the Dominion War and the Xindi but I also want to see the evolution of Worf and Alexander or Tom and B'Ellana or even Barclay and... Barclay.  I want to know the essential episodes in terms of plot and character.  I feel that The Inner Light is every bit as important as The Best of Both Worlds because Picard really shines in both.  These don't need to all be great episodes if they have some major development for the overall story.  That being said I don't want to watch episdes just because they are bad, I'm looking at you Spock's Brain.

The Original Series

This list should start with The Cage, Where No Man Has Gone Before, and The Man Trap obviously because that gives us a setup for the premise and introduces the characters.  Beyond that there are some classics that should be included such as Amok Time, Space Seed (if for no other reason than to lead to Wrath of Khan), Balance of Terror, The Trouble with Tribbles, and City on the Edge of Forever.

The Animated Series

This is the series I know the least about.  Are there any that stand out and really move the plots and characters forward.  I gather that Yesteryear was pretty good.  Wasn't the precursor to the holodeck introduced in this series?


I am very familiar with the films and own the special editions on DVD.  Wrath of Khan is an obvious inclusion.  While I was not a big fan of Search for Spock and The Voyage Home they show the destruction of the Enterprise and the conflict between Kirk and the Klingons.  Final Frontier has the intruduction of the Enterprise-A and the Uhura fan dance... wait, you mean that wasn't integral to the overall advancement of the plot?  Generations, while I felt was a weak film, has the destruction of the Enterprise-D and Kirk's death.  First Contact is a great film and a climax to the Borg invasion storyline in TNG and Nemesis, also not one of my favorites, gives some conclusion to the Romulan cold war episodes.

The Next Generation

There are a lot of stand out episodes but there are also a lot of storylines that developed over seven years such as the interactions with Q or Wesley and the Traveler.  There are some great stand alone episodes too, such as The Inner Light which is easily one of my favorite Star Trek episodes period.

Deep Space Nine

This is where my knowledge of the franchise starts to break down.  I was only able to watch a handful of the episodes when they first aired in the beginning of the series and missed out on the whole Dominion War.  I happened to catch Little Green Men when it aired and loved it.  This series is also where it gets tricky to try to make this list and the main reason I decided to come on here and ask for help.  There are a ton of plotlines and short of just watching the entire series I didn't know how to seperate out what was inmportant and what was filler.  There is, of course, the Dominion War but there are a lot of other things going on like Nog joining Starfleet, Section 31, and who knows what else.


I've seen a smattering of Voyager episodes from across the series run but don't really know where to start because there seems to be a lot going on here as well.  I know the Maquis were created for this series and there is a plotline about a Cardassian spy that I caught part of as well as the travels through Kazon space toward the beginning and then the conflicts with the Borg later on.  The handful of episodes that I saw I really enjoyed, such as Macrocosm which was a neat actioner, but I can't really identify the others.


I finally gave up trying to make my own list when I got here and the Xindi storyline.  Memory Alpha simply told me to watch the entirety of season three and that wasn't helpful at all.

So in closing what would you list as the episodes to watch to get the comprehensive Star Trek experience? 

Suffice to say, if you were not a fan of a particular series commenting 'voyager sux0rz' isn't particularly useful or productive.  I am coming off from watching my list of comprehensive Doctor Who, which, despite having 26 years of episodes to sort, was actually pretty esy to compile.  I am suprised that I had such difficulty making a list given the fact that I grew up obsessed with Star Trek while Doctor Who was a passing fancy I picked up as a kid on PBS and got renewed only a couple years ago with the revial series.


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Report this May. 04 2013, 11:34 am

Here is what I can make of episodes from the Original Series.  What do you think is important, missing, skippable, etc?

1.00 The Cage - For obvious reasons.

1.01 Where No Man has Gone Before - Kirk first appears as captain and the premise of the show is fully realized.

1.02 The Corbmite Maneuver - This one introduces the rest of the main cast.

1.03 Mudd's Women - The first of the Harry Mudd episodes. (skippable?)

1.06 The Naked Time - While I don't think this is a great episode it does advance Kirk and Rand's relationship and introduce Nurse Chapel.

1.08 Balance of Terror - A classic episode and a great introduction to the Romulans.

1.11 Miri - I don't remember any of the details of this episode but Memory Alpha references it as an important progression in the Kirk/Rand relationship.

1.12 The Conscience of the King - Rand leaves the Enterprise.  With her departure are the previous episodes building her relationship with Kirk even necessary?

1.13 The Galileo Seven

1.15/16 The Menagerie - We get some payoff to the Cage and is just a great couple of episodes.

1.17 Shore Leave - We see the shore leave planet for the first time but I don't care for this episode and would probably consider skipping it.

1.19 Arena

1.24 Space Seed - KHAAAAAAAANN!!! er, sorry that comes later, I mean we are introduced to Khan Noonein Sign.

1.26 The Devil in the Dark - I just really enjoy this episode.

1.27 Errand of Mercy - I don't remember anything about this episode but we are introduced to the Klingons.

1.28 The City on the Edge of Forever

2.01 Catspaw - Chekov is introduced.

2.02 Metamorphosis - Zefram Cochrane shows up.

2.03 Friday's Child - The Klingons return.

2.05 Amok Time - This one advances so much about the characters and Vulcan culture that it can't be missed.

2.06 The Doomsday Machine

2.10 Mirror, Mirror - The Mirror Universe first shows up here.

2.11 The Deadly Years - The Romulans return.

2.12 I, Mudd - Harry Mudd returns.

2.13 The Trouble with Tribbles - I have a pet tribble that hangs out on my computer desk.  Totally not relevant to the episode list but I don't care.

2.15 Journey to Babel - We get some more about Vulcans here.

2.16 A Private Little War - We get some more Klingons.

3.02 Elaan of Troyius - I don't remember much about this episode but it has Klingons in it.

3.04 The Enterprise Incident - A great episode from an otherwise not great Season 3 plus more Romulans.

3.09 The Tholian Web - I include this because Memory Alpha links it to the Mirror Universe by way of the ENT episode In a Mirror, Darkly.

3.10 Day of the Dove - More Klingon action.


That's 31 episodes.  It seems like some of the development of the Kirk/Rand relationship can be dropped since it never goes anywhere.  Also, it seems like some of the Klingon or Romulan episodes can probably be skipped because they don't do much to advance the plot or characters.  There are some great stand alone episodes that I included because they are high points of the series or are classics.

What are your thoughts?


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Report this May. 04 2013, 4:20 pm

Well this is just my opinion, and I will admit I am a bit more hardcore than most fans, particularly about seeing everything there is to see. So feel free to continue to seek out other fan views. But I have seen every episode ever, every movie ever, all of the special features and what not, and now I am collecting the blu-rays as they come out. I'm so hardcore I have every episode and film loaded onto my computer and sometimes iPod in a playlist giving the exact chronological order of the Star Trek universe.

With that being said, I am pretty knowledgeable about Trek, and while I dislike any skipping of any episodes, I honestly say TOS and TNG are really the only two you can afford to do that with. Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise are far more serialized. But they are stand alone too. They tend to do stand alone's that progress chracters and character arcs and that sort of thing in the background, while each episode's main plot is something new if that makes any sense?

TAS would be the easist to skip through. Yesteryear would be a good episode to watch. As well as Bem and The Practical Joker. Yesteryear we see Spock as a child, actually being made fun of by the Vulcan kids for being half human. It's really where the whole scene from the 2009 film came from. Bem is cool because it's the first time we hear Kirk's middle name being Tiberius, and The Practical Joker is the first time we see a Holodeck. However in this episode it is referred to as a Rec Room. So if you were to only watch 3 episodes of TAS, those would be the 3 to watch.


DS9, I strongly reccommend against skipping anything here. DS9 is the best Trek series in my opinion, and is easily the most serialzed after Enterprise.

Many important things happen in DS9, and like I said earlier, it sometimes will be just little small things in the back ground, while other episodes are extremely important. Season 1 is probably the least important season of the 7, however that being said, there are still some important episodes in Season 1. I do not reccomend skipping anything.

Voyager, this is my 2nd favorite series, and I really don't reccomend skipping here either, but I can learn to live with it, if you must   Season 1 like DS9, probably the least important of the 7. Also the 2nd shortest season ever in all of Star Trek (the shortest is TAS Season 2) But again a couple of important episodes here. Caretaker, which is the first episode. Phage is pretty important, at least early on in the series, State of Flux is a big one as well.

Season 2 is very important, and extremely good in my opinion. It really gets big into the Kazon arc. There's really not much to skip here.

Certain episodes in Season 3, MAYBE

Season 4-7, I still reccomend watching all of them.

Enterprise, if you must skip, get all the skipping you must in within Season 1. But you still should at least watch Broken Bow, and The Andorian Incident, and Cold Front, and Shockwave, Part 1. Season 2, I really suggest watching, Season 2 gets a million times stronger than Season 1.

Season 3, this is a big 24 episode arc, there are maybe 3 stand alone's in the season, Exinction, North Star and Doctor's Orders? And those are really only kinda sorta stand alone's.

Season 4 is crammed full of 2 parters and 3 parters, that's almost all Season 4 is actually. It's the shortest of the 4 seasons, only being 22 episodes. The only stand alone's are maybe Observer Effect, which is still extremely good, and Home which is a stand alone, but still a needed stand alone. Deadulus would be the only episode I would say is really ok to skip from season 4. Most people will tell you not to watch These Are The Voyages, which is the last episode of the series, but I think it's quite good. If you like Riker, and you like Troi and you like Enterprise, and you like TNG, and you liked the episode from TNG Season 7 The Pegasus, than you'll love this episode as I do.


Just my 2 cents, but I really think watching all the episodes is worth it, I really do.


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Report this May. 04 2013, 4:47 pm

Thanks for all the feedback.  I knew it was going to be difficult to trim down DS9.  The whole reason I started trying to work on this was because I wanted to watch the Dominon War episodes and then realized exacly how much of the show was dedicated to it.  I hadn't realized that Star Trek had transitioned quite so heavily from being episodic to being serialized.  I'm quite all right with that since I enjoy seeing stories and characters grow over time.  It does make it a little difficult to figure out where to start and with as hefty as the episode count is for DS9, it's also a little intimidating.  lol

I was a pretty obsessive Star trek fan for a very long time and, really, I still am I just havn't been able to indulge as much as I'd like.  I was making an effort to buy all of the episodes and films and had collected all of the movies and the entire run of TNG and started on DS9 but I went through a breakup and had to part with the episodes but keep the movies.  I started searching for good deals on the DVDs again but didn't end up having the money to get any of the shows.  Now, however, they are all on Netflix so I can watch whatever I want and that makes me a happy nerd.


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Report this May. 04 2013, 6:19 pm

The Animated Series seems to be a mixed bag of love and hate among fans.  I know very little about it aside from what I have learned while attempting to compile this list.  It seems to me like, of all the series, this is the one that can be most easily skipped if need be. 

However, I am hoping to compile not just what can be skipped but also what should be watched.  I want to end up with a list that gives a comprehensive Star Trek experience and identifies all of the major points for story, plot, and character over the course of the franchise.

So now, The Animated Series:

1.02 Yesteryear - It seems that if no other episode is watched than this is it.  We get a look at Spock's character and Vulcan culture.

1.03 More Troubles, More Tribbles - We return to the Cyrano Jones and tribbles story line as well as some Klingon machinations.  I don't know how important this is to the development of the plotlines and characters, however.

1.10 Mudd's Passion - Harry Mudd is back and up to shenanigans again.

1.12 The Time Trap - General Kor and the Klingons return.

2.02 Bem - This is the first time we hear Kirk's iconic middle name.  I think it's iconic anyway.

2.03 The Practical Joker - Here we see the precursor to the holodeck and TNG-era fame.

I have seen some internet love for episodes 1.04 The Lorelei Signal and 2.06 The Counter-Clock Incident but I don't know much about them.  This series seems to come across a couple of ways, fans either consider it of the same caliber as TOS or they think it is derivative and inferior.


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Report this May. 04 2013, 7:01 pm

The movies are easy.  I feel all of them are important and move forward the plots and characters in some way or another.  Insurrection can probably be skipped but I really enjoyed the film, plus it has the great "If you were any other man..." exchange between Worf and Picard.


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Report this May. 04 2013, 8:59 pm

Yeah honestly, if you have Netflix, just watch all of it. Netflix is only 7.99 a month, and, Star Trek is so good, I mean it's amazing. Best tv series ever created. Just go ahead and watch everything. It might take a little longer, but it will be worth it. And don't let DS9 or Voyager intimidate you. You saw all of TNG right? Well you do realize that TNG is actually the longest series? And then even though DS9 and Voyager also had 7 seasons, they are still shorter than TNG.

TNG Season 1 - 25 episodes. One episode short because Encounter at Farpoint was a two hour.

TNG Season 2 - 22 episodes. 4 episodes short because of the writer's strike going on in the late 80's

TNG Season 3 - 26 episodes

TNG Season 4 - 26 episodes

TNG Season 5 -  26 Episodes

TNG Season 6 - 26 episodes

TNG Season 7 - 25 episodes, Season 7 was one episode short, due to All Good Things being a 2 hour.

TNG has 176 episodes total.

DS9 Season 1 19 episodes. Not only does is this season short due to Emissary being a 2 hour, but this season was also kept shorter to keep DS9 in sync with TNG Season 6.

DS9 Season 2 26 episodes

DS9 Season 3 26 episodes

DS9 Season 4 25 episodes, this season is one episode short due to The Way of The Warrior being a 2 hour.

DS9 season 5 26 episodes

DS9 Season 6 26 episodes

DS9 Season 7 25 episodes, again this season is short due to What You Leave Behind being a 2 hour.

DS9 has 173 episodes total. 3 episodes less than TNG.


Voyager Season 1, 15 episodes. Caretaker is a 2 hour, plus the season was already short in order to keep it in sync with DS9 season 3. What's more, there was actually 4 episodes of Voyager that were filmed for Season 1, but were actually incorporated into Season 2. Those episodes are The 37's, which was actually intended to be the Season 1 finale, but became the Season 2 opener instead. Projections, Twisted and Elogium are the other 3 episodes that are season 2 episodes, but were intended to be season 1 episodes.

Voyager Season 2, 26 episodes

Voyager Season 3 26 episodes

Voyager Season 4 26 episodes

Voyager Season 5 25 episodes, this season is one short due to Dark Frontier being a 2 hour

Voyager Season 6 26 episodes

Voyager Season 7 24 episodes, this season is 2 episodes short due to Flesh and Blood and Endgame both being 2 hour episodes.

Voyager has 168 episodes. 8 episodes less than TNG. 5 episodes than DS9.

Enterprise has 97 episodes, and TAS 22. And TOS 79.


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Report this May. 05 2013, 9:06 am

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to devote to watching absolutely everything.  I want to get caught up on all the stuff I missed and revisit the best bits I haven't seen in a while.  When I did the episode count I counted the double length episodes as two since they have two production numbers and are syndicated as two.  That ends up with, across all the series 725 episodes and 10 films.  Figuring 45 minutes for all except the TAS episodes, which are 25 minutes, and two hours for the films that is aproximately 556.5 hours of footage.  I do not discount that the vast majority of it is fantastic, I just don't have the time to sit down and watch all of it and hope to get to through it any time soon.


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Report this May. 05 2013, 2:54 pm

TOS-I'd say that the absolute essentials are- The Cage, Where No Man has Gone Before, The Corbonite Manuever (the first three filmed), Balance of Terror (Intro to the Romulans), Arena (a classic TV moment, an important character episode for Kirk) Space Seed (intro to Khan) City on the Edge of Forever (another important character episode for Kirk, and the consensus pick for the best episode in the series), Errand of Mercy (intro to the Kilngons and the oft referenced Orgainian Peace Treaty) Amok Time (huge character episode for Spock and a basic primer on Vulcan culture), Mirror, Mirror (another classic TV moment), Journey to Babel (establishes a lot about the Federation and galactic politics, also an important character episode for Spock) and The Enterprise Incident (establishes a lot about the Romulans/glactic politics and is an important character episode for both Kirk and Spock). You could include plenty of other great episodes too.

Movies-Why not watch pretty much all of them? You could maybe skip TMP and the later TNG movies.

TNG-All the Klingon and Romulan episodes. That would probably average out to a litle more than one per year. Almost all the Q episodes (you could maybe skip 1 or 2 that were duds). The first couple Ferengi episodes and all the Cardassian/Bajoran episodes, as they both lead in to Ds9. All the Borg episodes. You could also include a few of the absolute best ones outside of the previous choices (The Inner Light, Yesterday's Enterprise, and Measure of a Man being the first three that come to mind). I think it's a good idea to watch all the TNG two parters too, since they're all so good.

Ds9-It's hard to pick and choose here because they're all so interconnected. Just watch all the Dominion/Cardassian/Bajoran episides, and then watch all of them once the war starts.

Voyager-Can we just skip Voyager? I kid, but it's hard to break down. I might do it later

Enterprise-Watch the Temporal Cold War, Klingon, and Andorian episodes from season 1-2. Watch all of Season 3. The Augments 3 parter and "Terra Prime" would be my season 4 reccomendations.


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Report this May. 05 2013, 3:54 pm

Not bad suggestions.  It does get really difficult to figure out what are essential episodes and what are not when it comes to DS9 and Voyager.  I found this list of TNG episodes but it is only 26 episodes and that seems unnecessarily limiting.

1.01-1.02 Encounter at Farpoint

1.06Where No One Has Gone Before


1.23Skin of Evil

2.09 The Measure of a Man

2.16Q Who?

2.21 Peak Performance

3.04Who Watches the Watchers

3.10 The Defector

3.15Yesterday’s Enterprise

3.17Sins of the Father

3.26-4.01The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I&II



4.12The Wounded

4.26-5.01Redemption, Parts I&II

5.03 Ensign Ro

5.19The First Duty

5.23I, Borg

5.25The Inner Light

6.10-6.11Chain of Command, Parts I&II


7.15Lower Decks

7.20Journey’s End

7.24Preemptive Strike

7.25-7.26All Good Things...


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Report this May. 05 2013, 8:16 pm

Quote: EATERoftheDEAD @ May. 05 2013, 9:06 am


>Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to devote to watching absolutely everything.  I want to get caught up on all the stuff I missed and revisit the best bits I haven't seen in a while.  When I did the episode count I counted the double length episodes as two since they have two production numbers and are syndicated as two.  That ends up with, across all the series 725 episodes and 10 films.  Figuring 45 minutes for all except the TAS episodes, which are 25 minutes, and two hours for the films that is aproximately 556.5 hours of footage.  I do not discount that the vast majority of it is fantastic, I just don't have the time to sit down and watch all of it and hope to get to through it any time soon.


Yeah, counting the 2 hour episodes as 1, the episode count comes to 715 episodes, plus 10 movies, bringing it to a grand total of 725, and yeah it's about 23.4 days worth of material. So assuming you watched Trek 24 hours a day, never stopping, it take a little over 3 weeks. I watch Trek regularly, and it normally takes me about 1 full year to go through everything.

Live Long and Prosper

Utopia Planetia

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Report this May. 05 2013, 11:45 pm

Umm, there're some often very good viewer-made synopses of star trek stories, seasons, characters, relationships, maybe even whole series on youtube. The dominion war, for instance, is chronicaled fairly well in a synopsis that pops up there often.

With deep space nine specifically, if you don't want to watch the whole show, you might consider just starting with the third season when they bring in the ship. Not only will that help you acclimate to deep space nine more easily, since you've been primed on the original series and next generation, but it's where the dominion story starts and where the whole show really settles in. Before that, it's mostly sector politics and standalone episodes, with a few stray hints at the dominion.


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Report this May. 06 2013, 5:47 am

I think what I am going to do is just sit down and watch the episodes that feature certian storylines of characters that interst me at any given time.  I was watching all the Q episodes when I thought it would be great to catch up on the Dominion War and that spiraled out of control into attempting this project.  When it comes to the Dominon War, Memory Alpha has some pretty comprehensive lists about the stroy arcs that make up the war that I will follow.

Instead of a comprehensive list I am doing some themed lists following certain characters or plotlines in the same vein as the collected episode DVD sets only a tad more inclusive.  For example, this is the Essential Spock Episodes list I created:

The Original Series
1.01 The Cage
1.02 Where No Man Has Gone Before
1.03 The Corbomite Maneuver
1.06 The Naked Time
1.08 Balance of Terror
1.13 The Galileo Seven
1.14 Court Martial
1.15-1.16 The Menagerie, Parts I&II
1.24 Space Seed
1.25 This Side of Paradise
2.05 Amok Time
2.15 Journey to Babel
2.19 The Immunity Syndrome
3.12 Plato’s Stepchildren
3.23 All Our Yesterdays

The Animated Series
1.02 Yesteryear

I The Motion Picture
II The Wrath of Kahn

III The Search for Spock
IV The Voyage Home
V The Final Frontier
VI The Undiscovered Country

The Next Generation
5.07-5.08 Unification, Parts I&II

XI Star Trek

Possible Inclusions
TOS 3.01 Spectre of the Gun
TOS 3.06 Spock's Brain
TNG 3.23 Sarek
TNG 6.14 Face of the Enemy

I included the 2009 film on the list not for the bits about Quinto's Spock, which I personally enjoy, or the trials he faces but because the story serves as a great endcap to Nimoy's Spock.


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Report this May. 06 2013, 6:02 am

Utopia, I just did a search on YouTube and found some pretty damn cool synopsis.  Thank you very much for pointing those out to me.  I never knew they existed and I feel like I may soon lose some time of my life to them.  One of the Dominion War series I found is about 12 hours long.  lol


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Report this May. 06 2013, 6:34 am

This is another one I just worked on and was quite easy to compile.  The Essential Borg Invasion: An unstoppable alien force with a desire only to consume is invading the Alpha Quadrant and the Federation is woefully unprepared to face the threat.

TNG 1.13 Datalore
TNG 1.26 The Neutral Zone
TNG 2.16 Q, Who?
TNG 2.21 Peak Performance
TNG 3.26-4.01 The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I&II
TNG 4.02 Family
TNG 5.23 I, Borg
TNG 6.26-7.01 Descent, Parts I&II
MOV VIII First Contact
ENT 2.23 Regeneration

For an even more concise experience remove Datalore and Descent, thus removing the Lore subplot, and remove Regeneration to remove the epilogue.  Otherwise the arc has some nice bookends in Datalore and Regeneration.  It is possible also to remove Family but I feel that doing so would remove some of the emotional impact of both the Best of Both Worlds and First Contact especially in Picard.  For a more complete experience it is possible to add the Deep Space Nine pilot 1.01-1.02 Emissary.  The episode does not deal with the Borg at all but it does show the fallout of the events of The Best of Both Worlds on other characters, showing wider epercussions of the invasion across the Federation.

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